Vocal cord dysfunction, sometimes known as paradoxical vocal fold motion, is a breathing problem caused by the abnormal closing of the vocal cords.

This is a rare problem that is frequently misdiagnosed as asthma.

During normal respiration, the vocal folds (also known as the vocal cords) tend to move outward when you breathe in. With vocal cord dysfunction, the vocal folds tend to close when you breathe in – the opposite of what they should do.

This can result in noisy breathing that may be mistaken for asthma and can be very frightening.

It tends to occur in young athletes and in patients with reflux disease.

Vocal Cord Dysfunction Diagnosis

Your doctor will take a patient history and ask you to describe your symptoms. You may have a pulmonary function test or a laryngoscopy to help your doctor further identify what is causing your breathing problems.

Vocal Cord Dysfunction Treatment

Vocal cord dysfunction is almost always manageable with a combination of reflux treatment and respiratory training exercises.